It’s full-on summertime in the US, and the living is… kind of weird. People continue to get hurt imitating TikTok, a pop star visited the White House to get kids to take the damn vaccine already, and everyone on the internet is learning a lot about wild pigs. This is not the future I was promised by the science fiction movies of the 1970s.
This week in politics: The historic Rodrigo/Biden summit
When she’s not stealing riffs from Elvis Costello, 18-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo is visiting heads-of-state. The singer rolled into the White House dressed in vintage Chanel, took the stage at the official press briefing, got some aviator sunglasses from Diamond Joe himself, and even met fellow pop star Anthony Fauci.
Rodrigo was there to record videos urging kids to get vaccinated for the ‘rona and share them with her 28 million young followers. “It doesn’t matter if you’re young and healthy, getting the vaccine is about protecting yourself, your friends, and your family. Let’s get vaccinated!” Rodrigo said in a twitter video.
This week in TikTok danger
Welcome to another instalment of my ongoing feature “Don’t ever do anything you see on the internet.” Please avoid the following means of self-expression:
This week in music: BTS and Måneskin
The two videos blowing up this week are on opposite sides of the youth culture paradigm, encapsulating pop music’s never-ending push-pull between the transgressive and the mundane. On the transgressive side is the video for Måneskin “I Wanna Be Your Slave.” This flat-out celebration of sex, kinkiness, gender-nonconformity, and dirty rock and/or roll is the latest in a long line of “shock-the-squares” hits that go back at least as far as Cab Calloway “Reefer Man” in 1932.
On the other end of the spectrum: The clean cut, non-threatening K-Pop boys of BTS showed off the video for their number one hit “Butter” on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show this week, and the slick, perfectly crafted pop song shocked no one, even if it does feature a rap break. It’s so catchy, you’ll be sick of it before it’s finished playing, but it will never leave your head. I would like to see a BTS/ Måneskin collab, please. Let’s shake things up, people.
This week in texting: New emojis are coming
A slate of 32 potential new emojis have been unveiled, just in time for World Emoji Day on July 17. (I plan on attending a small, somber ceremony, because I hate the commercialization of World Emoji Day.) The candidates for Emoji stars include “finger pointing at you,” “gender-neutral pregnant person,” “X-ray,” and “ID card.” Sadly, “screaming man being eaten by snakes” did not make the cut.
The winners will be decided by online voting, so make your voice heard; democracy is important. The winners of the pageant will be available in text windows worldwide on Sept. 14. At the risk of politicking, I urge you to vote for the “Biting Lip” emoji. I’m a too classy to send “eggplant” followed by “water drops,” but I still need to signal when it’s business time.
Viral video of the week: True Facts: Wild Pigs
I’d never considered how weird and awesome pigs are until I watched this week’s viral video, “True Facts: Wild Pigs.” The bite-sized wildlife documentary from ZFrank takes you deep into Pig-World where you’ll learn all about the terrible teeth of the wild boar, the peculiar mating habits of our porcine cousins, and how warthogs are so ugly they scare cheetahs.
I’ve always advocated for eliminating Nature entirely, and this video’s footage of the demon/goth pigs of Indonesia is all the reassurance I need that I’m on the right side of this issue. Anyway, check it out while enjoying a ham sandwich.
This week in video games: Netflix to offer games
Netflix is continuing its quest to take over everything by entering the video game space. According to Bloomberg, Netflix plans to offer video games on its streaming service within the next year. Games will appear alongside movies and original Netflix content in their own section and won’t cost anything extra to play.
What sort of vidja games Netflix is planning remains to be seen, but judging by their original content, I’d put my money on interactive stand-up specials featuring barely funny comedians and amateurish niche games that all suck… except that one that you really, really like.